Thursday, April 17, 2008

Symantec releases Internet Threat Security Report

Symantec recently issued it's Internet Security Report, which covers the second half of 2007. The key findings in the report are that malicious activity has become web based, attackers are going after end users rather than computers, the underground community is maturing and consolidating and the bad guys are getting better at improvising and adapting.

The report confirms that hacker tool kits are increasingly making it easier for less sophisticated types to effective commit technical crimes. Symantec also believes that these tool kits are being professionally developed, which supports the deduction that the underground community is maturing and consolidating.

Perhaps the availability of tool kits is the reason that a 559 percent increase in phishing websites has been noted?

The report also shows that the bad guys are going after "trusted" sites, such as social networking sites.

The underground economy in stolen financial details is also on the increase. These details, which are sold in Internet forums are getting cheaper. With all the phishing going on coupled with a record amount of data breaches an over abundant supply of stolen information is likely the reason for this. The report found a wide variety of pricing on payment card numbers, ranging from .40 cents to $20 per card.

The easy availability of encoders and other portable payment card technology makes it "too easy" to counterfeit the numbers into realistic looking plastic. In addition to this, there is a thriving market in counterfeit documents, which provides a wide-array of realistic counterfeit identification to vet the counterfeit financial instruments.

Besides identities and payment card details, stolen bank accounts are becoming increasingly available. Symantec attributes the increase in bank account information to a mirror increase in banking trojans over the second half of 2007.

Besides being used to clean out an account, bank account details are useful to criminals when they commit check fraud. Anyone, who follows scams on the Internet, knows that counterfeit checks are being delivered to unsuspecting mules to cash in a variety of advance fee (419) type scams. Please note there are organized gangs, who move from area to area committing check fraud using mules, who know exactly what they are doing, also.

Recently, an International task force monitored the mail and discovered large amounts of counterfeit checks being shipped throughout North America and the European Union.

All in all this report is a very interesting read. If you are a more visual type, Symantec also did a very nice flash presentation on this, which can be seen on the page linked to in the previous sentence.


Anonymous said...

This is a Very Good Article and really goes to show you just how big this world wide scam has become.
The piece Dateline NBC did on this subject was eye opening to say the least. Watching the episode at
along with this report can and WILL help the General Public know whats Really Going On and How Best to defend against the Growing Internet Phishing Scams that can easily steal your identity FAST!

ifraud said...

This report should worry us very much and by these means, we should realize how dangerous internet crime is, and try to fight is with all measures we can.